Collective Action brings reliable safe water to the people of Wamahinso Collective Action brings reliable safe water to the people of Wamahinso

· Stories,WASH

Collective Action brings reliable safe water to the people of Wamahinso Collective Action brings reliable safe water to the people of Wamahinso

It is a life changing moment in Wamahinso, one of the rapidly growing small towns in Asutifi North District of the newly created Ahafo Region in Ghana. The town is home to many people working for the Newmont Gold Company Ltd and reflect growing urbanization with many rural characteristics.

The people led by Nana Agyei Twum II, the chief of Wamahinso welcome the team from the National Development Planning Commission and Hilton grantees with great humility to the community. The team was on a mission to document innovative cases from the Hilton Foundation Grantees in the Safe Water Strategy Initiative in the Asutifi North District.

Prior to the safe water initiative, the town had four boreholes provided by Newmont and the local government that served over 2,500 people in the community, but these boreholes often run dry and water services could not keep pace with demand, especially in the dry season. Residents were compelled to wait for several hours to collect even one container of water. Sometimes they had to fight in queues and children were not regular in school because of water.

The Assembly member, Nnuro Ameyow said: “Two years ago, there was shortage of water in the community, children were not going to school because of water and productivity was low. We could wait a whole day at the borehole without getting water”.

Access to sustainable WASH services is very essential to human life. Lack of proper WASH often results in poor health, education and nutrition. The Hilton Foundation and its grantees working towards achieving full WASH coverage has intervened to tackle their WASH problems in the community.

Safe Water Network and the Asutifi North District Assembly under the ANAM safe water initiative have jointly, in a ratio of 60/40 provided national grid small-town pipe system at a total cost of USD 60,000 to the people of Wamahinso community. Wamahinso now has a national grid powered small-town pipe system for providing safe water to over 2,500 people. The raw water which contains iron is pumped from the main borehole (pump house) located in the community into a receiving tank at the main treatment center. An iron remover plant which is installed at the treatment center draws water from the receiving tank and pumps the water through its filters into two overhead tanks, each of capacity 10,000 liters, where the water is chlorinated before safe water is distributed by gravity to the five standpipes strategically located in the community. In January 7, 2020, the system commenced free water operations and delivery to the residents of Wamahinso and on January 20, 2020, actual sale of safe water commenced at all the five standpipes, each standpipe being managed by a vendor. A system operator is in charge of the daily operations of the system at Wamahinso.

According to the Safe Water Network Field Officer Martin Agyapong, though there has been a resistance regarding the payment system, majority have complied to it. In the first five weeks of service, over 200,000 litres of water have already been sold to the people at a cost 10 pesewas (USD 0.017) for 20 litres. Water and Sanitation Management team has been constituted to ensure all the water systems sell strictly on ‘pay as you fetch’ basis with a trained water vendor earning commission from the daily sales.

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The community members applauded government and Hilton Grantees for coming to their aid at the right time. They noted that the facility will help solve the many water problems the people have been battling with for ages.

“I would like to acknowledge the Government through the Assembly for this initiative. It is my hope that the initiative would solve all water challenges faced by Wamahinso - Since water places a pivotal aspect of lives, these facilities will help augment the lives of our people,” says Nana Agyei Twum II.

“Now we can easily get access to water at any time….” I am proud with Hilton and its Grantees for providing us with safe water, the people will not worry me again about water. This has given me a big relief” stated Nnuro Ameyaw